Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease had a no-hitter through five innings.

But nothing comes easy when you’re on a losing streak, and by the time Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals reached the bottom of the seventh, a three-run Sox lead had vanished and the score was tied.

Manager Tony La Russa noticed an encouraging mood in the dugout.

“Keep playing, keep playing, find a way,” La Russa said.

The Sox did just that.

Left fielder Andrew Vaughn broke the tie with a three-run homer in the seventh and the Sox snapped their eight-game slide by beating the Royals 7-3 in front of 12,363 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It’s a game of baseball, a game of failure, it’s going to happen a lot,” Vaughn said of the losing streak. “We just kept grinding, going out there every single day and doing our best. We have 140 more to go at least, so just keep going and keep playing.”

Vaughn went 2 for 4 with four RBIs as the Sox won for the first time since beating the Tampa Bay Rays on April 16.

“I don’t know what our record is going to be when we get to the end, but it’s going to be whatever we’re good enough to perform,” La Russa said. “Because the head, heart and the guts are there. We’ve got plenty of that.”

They received a strong pitching performance from Cease, who allowed two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in six innings.

“He was exceptional,” La Russa said.

Cease retired the first 13 batters before issuing a one-out walk in the fifth. He carried the no-hitter into the sixth, when Edward Olivares began the inning with an infield single.

Cease said he was thinking of the no-hitter “a little bit.”

“But it’s definitely not the main focus,” he said. “It’s noticing it more than just sitting there and dwelling on it.”

Bloop hits to right and left field in the sixth drove in runs, cutting the Sox lead to 3-2. The Royals tied it with a sacrifice fly an inning later.

It could have been a “here they go again” moment.

Instead, the Sox bounced back with a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson singled. The Royals brought in Scott Barlow, and Vaughn hit the first pitch over the left-field wall, giving the Sox a 6-3 lead.

“I was just looking for a good pitch,” Vaughn said. “I got a fastball middle up and put a good swing on it.”

Vaughn leads the Sox with four home runs.

“There were a lot of times during (2021) where he was our best run producer,” La Russa said. “Then toward the end he got a little tired maybe. But he’s a better hitter than he was last year, and he was good last year.”

The Sox added a run in the eighth. The seven runs were their most since a 10-1 win April 10 in Detroit.

“This is definitely something to build off,” Vaughn said. “Great at-bats, but we still have more in the tank.”

La Russa marked the end of the losing streak with a little dance as he entered Guaranteed Rate Field’s conference center for postgame interviews.

“It’s a lot more fun winning,” said third baseman Jake Burger, who went 3 for 4 with a solo home run. “Everybody’s laughing, having a good time, music’s bumping when you come back in (the clubhouse).

“We want to keep it that way.”

Injury updates

Center fielder Luis Robert continued to rehab from a groin strain suffered April 21 in Cleveland. He has not played since.

“He’s stepping up the workout every day,” La Russa said before Wednesday’s game. “When he can do everything without any discomfort, that’s when he’s green-lighted as far as I’m concerned because of all his activity, whether he’s playing defense or offense.

“As of (Tuesday), he still felt a little something when he moved side to side. So that has to disappear.”

Yasmani Grandal served as the designated hitter after leaving Tuesday’s game with “soreness in his legs.” Grandal went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run Wednesday.

Third baseman Yoán Moncada expects to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday. Reliever Joe Kelly is slated to pitch for Charlotte on Sunday.


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